The Great Poets – Lord Byron (selections)

Audio Sample

Lord Byron

The Great Poets – Lord Byron

Read by Simon Russell Beale


Today Byron is regarded as the ultimate romantic – a rebel, a Casanova and a man of intense, brooding passion. He was the most famous literary man of his time, and his poetry, endlessly witty and often insightful, was immensely popular and hugely influential. From the delicate romanticism of She Walks in Beauty to the evocative reflections of So We’ll Go No More a Roving, Byron’s poems were unrivalled in their power and potency. Lesser-known poems such as Destruction of Sennacherib, a reimagining of the biblical story of Sennacherib, Prometheus, a sardonic poem about the Greek gods, and Darkness, an apocalyptic story of the last man on earth, also included here, reveal Byron to be a poet of great range and variety. ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’, Lord Byron was without equal in English literature.

The Times – Audiobook of the Week
  • Running Time: 1 h 15 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-185-6
    Cat. no.:NA0334
    Download size:29 MB
    Produced by:John Foley
    Edited by:Thomas Goose
    Released:August 2018
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Audiobook of the Week

One of the great strengths of audiobooks is the offering of poetry read aloud. Naxos’s excellent Great Poets series includes Ronald Pickup reading John Masefield, Robert Glenister reading William Blake, and Michael Sheen reading Coleridge. Latest in an impressive line is Byron, a poet of phenomenal charisma in his heyday. We still quote him unaware. ‘Strange, but true, for truth is… stranger than fiction’, is a line from Don Juan; ‘On with the dance!’ is from Childe Harold. Nowadays few feel inclined to approach such epics, but you will be tempted to do so after listening to this collection of his shorter poems, which Simon Russell Beale reads with wholehearted engagement. Some are fresh, many heartliftingly familiar. There’s the wistful: ‘So, we’ll go no more a roving/ So late into the night,/ Though the heart be still as loving,/ And the moon be still as bright.’ And the searing: ‘In secret we met –/ In silence I grieve,/ That thy heart could forget,/ Thy spirit deceive./ If I should meet thee/ After long years,/ How should I greet thee?–/ With silence and tears.’ And the romping rhythms of The Destruction of Sennacherib: ‘The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold…’

Christina Hardyment, The Times

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